Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dog Tooth Borders

These are some nine inch mats I made recently. They are made from 2 layers of 100% post consumer recycled cotton-based batting, some vintage and recycled fabrics, and some new designer fabrics.
I had a really good time making these mats and am very pleased with the results. Some of the vintage fabrics have been hanging on my studio walls for a long time, with different fabrics hanging around. That's my method of seeing if they will jive in the long term. I think of these creations as "fabric studies." Think of color studies - putting different colors together in a sketch to see how they react/interact. When I marry two or three fabrics together with stitches and quilting, I get to see what kind of relationship dynamic ensues.
I want to make more!
I'm starting to notice more themes and motifs that keep coming up in my work. This zig-zag border echos the angles at which I always put stripes and plaids. I've used it on its own before, though, to border a full-size quilt I made several years ago. The traditional term is "dog tooth border" which I like. I'm not sure the strict traditionalists wouldn't disqualify my application from the term since I'm not folding under the edges.
Instead I'm fusing interfacing to the inner border before I cut the toothed edge. Then I have a nice stiff edge with no fraying. After arranging the border I sew it down with a near satin stitch. I like to have my stitches a little wider than satin, so some of the color of the fabric hints through between the thread. What I realized after making these is that I really like angles. And I can't seem to get away from squares. Okay, I like squares. There, I said it. I don't know why, but there it is. Squares rule! (I've always like nerds and dorks, too, so I guess it fits.)

Making these has opened my mind to better visualizing my ability to make rectangular place mat-type objects. This was something I've had some sort of block on. Don't know why, since I like to compose quilts using the rectangle. Maybe it's because I don't like to use place mats at my table.

Wranglers comin'at'cha!

This is my last piece of this wonderful vintage linen. The texture and especially colors are very rich. There is a stain line that tells you this is where the fold was when it was a curtain or whatever it was in it's former life. I hereby assert that such stains are not defects of the fabric or mistakes in my fabric choices or craftsmanship, but marks that help tell the story of this object's history. Like scars and lines in an old face. You wouldn't wish those wrinkles off your great-aunt; they are part of her particular beauty. What a life she's had! What character!

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